Monday, July 20, 2015

Trader Joe's Belgian Chocolate Pudding

This is Day 2 of CHOCOLATE WEEK. 

I can't believe this stuff doesn't get more love and attention than it does. It seems like the sort of Trader Joe's product that would have hordes of adoring fans. But I've been following all things Trader Joe's online for about a year now, and I think I've only seen it mentioned once. That was just recently on Twitter, which is what made me seek it out. I actually had to ask for help finding it in the store, because it was nearly hidden away, with just a few tubs in an obscure corner of a refrigerated case--as if TJ's has given up and decided nobody is going to buy it anyway.

Maybe that's because of its relatively steep price: $3.49 for 16 ounces.

Is it worth it?

Well, it's definitely distinct, unlike any other chocolate pudding I've ever had. It's unbelievably rich and choclatey. I can eat less than a quarter of a tub (i.e., less than four ounces) before I feel completely sated and can take no more. The mouthfeel is that of something stoked with fats--an impression confirmed by the cold, hard facts on the nutrition label.

Strangely, this seems not to have been reviewed by any of the usual TJ's blogging suspects. But when I wanted to see what reviewers may have thought of this item, Google pointed me to other sources:

A comparison test by the "Serious Eats" web site rated the TJ's product first out of nine contenders:
Our winner, Trader Joe's, was also ranked the most chocolatey of the bunch; as mentioned above, overall scores tracked "chocolatey" rankings very closely. It's the only one with "chocolate" in the ingredients, rather than cocoa powder; in comments, it was called "the richest," "the most like dark chocolate," "bittersweet in a good way," with "deep" or "actual chocolate flavor"; every single taster noted how pronounced that flavor was. The majority of tasters also liked the thick texture, called "creamy," "rich," "full," and "thick in a good way." 
A vocal minority strongly disliked this pudding for its texture, thinking it grainy, pasty, and too thick—closer to frosting than pudding. However, it had the highest "overall preference" score by nearly two full points, making it the decisive winner.

The Huffington Post did a comparison test of eight puddings. They ranked TJ's in 6th place:
Comments: "Has the texture of buttercream frosting, but it's chalky and the flavor is slightly bitter." "Too thick and bitter." "This is in a league of its own. Rich and complex." "I hate this." "Fudge-like but tastes off."

Finally, the "This Week for Dinner" blog has this to say:
My friend Michelle was telling me how this stuff is amazing. So amazing she bought it and hid it in the fridge so no one else in the family new it existed. Michelle is onto something. This pudding tastes like rich chocolate mousse, with a really great, thick pudding texture. SOOOOOOOOO good. Please note that my crazy sister who doesn’t “really like chocolate that much” {what?!?!} actually didn’t really like this pudding that much either…because it is all chocolate, people. GREAT chocolate.

Will I buy it again? 

I don't think so. It is really good. But it's so rich and fatty I can feel my arteries hardening with each swallow. I'm getting too old to lard up my body this way. Glad I tried it once, though.

Nina's View

I'm one of those supposedly oddball people who is not that crazy about chocolate. I like it once in a while, in moderation.

Shyeah—but if I had this stuff in my refrigerator I would eat it compulsively until it was all gone. Because OMG delicious. Words inadequate.


I liked every little thing about this foodstuff: texture, flavor, mouthfeel, smell. 

I will never, ever buy it, because my thighs are as big as I want them to be, thankyouverymuch.


OK, I'm gonna take the blog owner's prerogative and add this pudding to my Top Ten list. I was hesitant to do so, because it seems strange to say something is that good, while at the same time saying that I'm likely never going to buy it again. But since that appears to be Nina's position, too, I feel that I have some company, which emboldens me in making such an unusual call. My final bit of rationale is this: Every time I see somebody ask for a list of TJ's favorites, on Twitter or in a blog post, I send the link to my Top Ten list. (This happens more than you'd probably guess.) Including the pudding will perhaps get more people to try it, which I think it deserves.

So welcome to the Top Ten list, Belgian Chocolate Pudding!


  1. I love chocolate pudding, but I was one of those that found this to be a little TOO rich and chocolatey! Bought it only one time - that was enough for me!!

  2. Top ten?? I'll have to try it now...! With all the "its so rich" comments i'm thinking it would be great with some fresh strawberries to add a fruity acidic balance.

  3. This pudding is "To Die For". It remains hidden in the corner of a long refrigerator at our Greenville SC store. Everyone I have told about this pudding is hooked.

  4. I bought this recently and was a bit overwhelmed by the chocolate, it was unexpected. But i immediately imagined it layered with sponge cake or lady fingers and fresh whipped cream to cut the density.

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  6. I just tried Trader Joe's Belgian Chocolate Pudding and am totally blown away. Best chocolate pudding ever. Some cite the sturdy texture as a negative. I differ. It is sublime. I won't eat it frequently because I can't but in a world without rules or limits, this would be one of my staples.

  7. This pudding was delicious. Next time I'm at TJ's, I'm going to buy at least 2 or 3 buckets. I love that it's so rich. For me that means I won't over eat it. Can't believe ppl are being negative about. It's the best pudding I've ever had. My son really loves it, too!